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Impact of low-volume, high-intensity interval training on maximal aerobic capacity, health-related quality of life and motivation to exercise in ageing men

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There is a demand for effective training methods that encourage exercise adherence during advancing age, particularly in sedentary populations. This study examined the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise on health-related quality of life (HRQL), aerobic fitness and motivation to exercise in ageing men. Participants consisted of males who were either lifelong sedentary (SED; N = 25; age 63 ± 5 years) or lifelong exercisers (LEX; N = 19; aged 61 ± 5 years). \( \dot{\mathrm{V}}{\mathrm{O}}_{2 \max } \) and HRQL were measured at three phases: baseline (Phase A), week seven (Phase B) and week 13 (Phase C). Motivation to exercise was measured at baseline and week 13. \( \dot{\mathrm{V}}{\mathrm{O}}_{2 \max } \) was significantly higher in LEX (39.2 ± 5.6 ml kg min−1) compared to SED (27.2 ± 5.2 ml kg min−1) and increased in both groups from Phase A to C (SED 4.6 ± 3.2 ml kg min−1, 95 % CI 3.1 – 6.0; LEX 4.9 ± 3.4 ml kg min−1, 95 % CI 3.1–6.6) Physical functioning (97 ± 4 LEX; 93 ± 7 SED) and general health (70 ± 11 LEX; 78 ± 11 SED) were significantly higher in LEX but increased only in the SED group from Phase A to C (physical functioning 17 ± 18, 95 % CI 9–26, general health 14 ± 14, 95 % CI 8–21). Exercise motives related to social recognition (2.4 ± 1.2 LEX; 1.5 ± 1.0 SED), affiliation (2.7 ± 1.0 LEX; 1.6 ± 1.2 SED) and competition (3.3 ± 1.3 LEX; 2.2 ± 1.1) were significantly higher in LEX yet weight management motives were significantly higher in SED (2.9 ± 1.1 LEX; 4.3 ± 0.5 SED). The study provides preliminary evidence that low-volume HIIT increases perceptions of HRQL, exercise motives and aerobic capacity in older adults, to varying degrees, in both SED and LEX groups.

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Correspondence to Fergal M. Grace.

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Knowles, AM., Herbert, P., Easton, C. et al. Impact of low-volume, high-intensity interval training on maximal aerobic capacity, health-related quality of life and motivation to exercise in ageing men. AGE 37, 25 (2015).

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